Cantanhez forests

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
The proposed Cantanhez (Canthenthês) Forests National Park is situated in the south-east of the country, on the international border with the Republic of Guinea. The site includes river flood-plains and mangroves on the northern and western banks of the upper reaches of the Rio Cacine and areas of savanna and forest extending inland as far as the village of Cumbijã, thence south-east to the frontier. It includes the best remaining example of semi-humid forest in the country. The forest is dominated by Afzelia africana, Alstonia congensis, Antiaris africana, Ceiba pentandra, Dialium guineense, Ficus spp. and Parinari excelsa. Rainfall is restricted to May–November and does not usually exceed 2,600 mm per annum.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 2 for key species. The area has yet to be properly surveyed.

Non-bird biodiversity: Primates include Pan troglodytes (EN), Procolobus badius (LR/nt), Colobus polykomos (LR/nt) and Papio papio (LR/nt). Trichechus senegalensis (VU) has been recorded from the upper reaches of the Rio Cacine.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Part of the forest was classified as a Non-hunting Reserve, but the regulations are not enforced and there is no effective protection for the forest habitat. The area has been proposed as the Cantanhez (Canthenthês) Forests National Park, and there is apparently general agreement between the central and local authorities and the local population of the need to take action to conserve this area. The human population within the proposed park is estimated at 4,100. Encroachment through shifting cultivation is leading to degradation and destruction, particularly in the northern sector. Hunting has, with the partial exception of primates, reduced or eliminated populations of larger mammals.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cantanhez forests. Downloaded from on 05/12/2022.